Finding Happiness In The Small Stuff (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Finding Happiness In The Small Stuff

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:15
If there are any big Charlie Brown fans out there, you may very well be familiar with this song.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:41
Yes, for Chuck and his buddies, happiness can be a lot of things, from catching a firefly to sharing a sandwich. Well, we wanted to know what happiness is for you. So we turned to our Public Insight Network, or PIN, and asked WAMU listeners, what has made you happy? A good laugh, a good deed, maybe a good dinner? Well, we got a lot of great responses. And Jacob Fenston headed out to meet some of the people who sent those responses in.

MS. DORI BAILIN

00:01:11
Hi, I’m Dori Bailin. I'm a pre-K teacher at Clopper Mill Elementary School in Montgomery County. We were at lunch -- this was down in D.C. I was teaching in D.C. Public Schools. And I had a little one who brought a bag filled with black olives. And he was just plucking them out and eating them. And I went over and I said, sweetie, don't you know how to eat black olives? and he looked at me and he's like, what? And I said, no, that's not how you eat black olives. And I put like one little olive on each finger on both hands and kind of did monster hands in his face.

MS. DORI BAILIN

00:01:44
But the next day Mommy came in with that tone like, I know my kid is lying to me. And he had this look on his face, like, Mama, doesn't believe me. And I looked at her and I just sort of shook my head and I said, well, I did, because that's the way you eat black olives, as far as I know. You couldn't get the smile off his face. And just looking at him -- because he was little peanut. And he had this huge smile. And it was like, all day. And every time I looked at him I giggled and he giggled. And, of course, at lunch he brought his olives.

MS. DORI BAILIN

00:02:21
Last year, years and years later, I got an email announcing his engagement. It was from Mom and she recounted the story again and how he still talks about that. And my thought is he'll probably teach his children how to eat black olives that way.

MS. LETA HALL

00:02:42
My name is Leta Hall. I'm a Silver Spring native. I the first time in my life I ever cried because I was happy -- I think it's the only time I ever cried because I was happy. When I was a little girl, I think I was about 10 or 11, my father was in the Navy and he was assigned to Vietnam. At one point, while he was overseas, my mom told me that he would be coming home to visit.

MS. LETA HALL

00:03:09
I remember I came in the front door and I came down the stairs and I had two friends with me. And I came around the corner and I saw my dad. And I remember exactly where my dad was standing. I remember exactly where, you know, I was. I remember my friends just over my left shoulder. I remember my mom. I remember kind of how the kitchen looked. And I was so happy, I burst into tears and just ran at him and flung my arms around him.

MS. LETA HALL

00:03:33
I hadn't realized at the time that I was kind of living with a baseline concern for my dad while he was overseas. You know, I was just a kid. I didn't know much about the war, but I knew enough. It was war. War is dangerous. And so somewhere in the back of my mind was this worry that he wouldn't come home.

MS. MARY ELLEN MICHAEL

00:03:55
My name is Mary Ellen Michael. I live in a kind of rural area, the Catoctin Mountains, lots of forest. The moment that made me very happy recently started out last November, right before Thanksgiving. I got a flyer in the mail from a neighbor who had lost cat his cat. And I was going to throw the flyer into the recycling bin, but I remembered my own experience of a cat that missing for six months. And I found him in a community not far from here, about five miles away. So I decided rather than throwing the flyer away I'd just hang onto it for awhile.

MS. MARY ELLEN MICHAEL

00:04:37
So I put it into a pile of papers that I was keeping. And Christmas came and went and New Year's came and went and I didn't think about the cat at all anymore. And then into January it was cold and we started noticing there was a cat in our front yard. At first I thought he was a very old cat, but then when I got a closer look at him I could tell that he was a starving cat. And then I suddenly remembered that flyer. And I got the flyer out and there was a picture on the flyer of this very fat cat lying on the couch with his favorite dog.

MS. MARY ELLEN MICHAEL

00:05:10
The flyer said that the cat had six toes. So the next time I fed him I got a good look at his feet and sure enough he had the six toes. The cat, when I said his name he figured I must know who he was so now he was safe. And so when his owner came to get him he just -- he was almost in tears. I mean he just didn't know what to say because everybody had assumed this cat had died somewhere. And the cat was just rolling around because he was just so happy and he was licking everybody. And it just made me feel so good. It's something that I'll remember forever.

SHEIR

00:05:49
That was Dori Bailin, Leta Hall and Mary Ellen Michael telling their stories to "Metro Connection's" Jacob Fenston. This piece was informed by the Public Insight Network, or PIN. It's a way for people to share their stories with us and for us to reach out for input on topics we're covering. You can learn more about the network by visiting metroconnection.org/PIN.

SHEIR

00:06:51
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Jacob Fenston, Emily Berman, Jonathan Wilson and Kavitha Cardoza, along with reporters Lauren Ober and Robbie Feinberg. WAMU's managing editor of news is Memo Lyons. "Metro Connection's" managing producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our editorial assistant. Our intern is Eva Harder. Thanks, as always, to the WAMU engineering and digital media teams for their help with production on the "Metro Connection" website. Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts," is from the album Title Tracks by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company.

SHEIR

00:07:23
All the music we used is listed on our website, metroconnection.org. Just click on a story and you'll find information about its accompanying song. Also on metroconnection.org you can read free transcripts of stories and if you missed part of today's show you can hear the whole thing online by clicking the "This week on Metro Connection" link. You can also subscribe to our podcast through the website or find us on iTunes, Stitcher and the NPR News app.

SHEIR

00:07:49
We hope you can join us next week when we'll explore secrets. We'll revisit the dark secret that shocked D.C. political circles 20 years ago. We'll check out a new play that pierces the facade of domestic bliss. And we'll hear from a woman who conducted her own secret experiment on strangers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN

00:08:06
I'd have to think about it a little bit more. I totally see where you're coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN

00:08:10
Yeah, it used to have a label on it, though.

MAN

00:08:12
But…

WOMAN

00:08:13
This is random, so…

MAN

00:08:13
…it's a bit odd.

SHEIR

00:08:15
I'm Rebecca Sheir and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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